Keeping Dreams Alive

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Keeping Dreams Alive is a special Photovoice Project led by Mettamorphosis Founder Dr Marilyn Metta. The project showcases the photographic work of young Burmese Chin refugee students in Malaysia.

In December 2017, Marilyn brought a dozen old donated digital cameras to Malaysia to work with the Chin refugee students at Senthang Learning Centre. With the cameras, these amazing young people were able to document their lives though their own eyes. The results are an extraordinary series of photos that provide a rare insight into the lives, experiences and stories of these young people.

Since the launch of the exhibition in The Paper Mountain Gallery in May 2018, they have been taking the Keeping Dreams Alive Exhibition on tour. They were delighted to showcase these photographs in the 2018 Refugee Week Celebration at the Curtin University Library.

My Bedroom by Jack

“This is my bedroom, we watch TV and sometime we play computer. This is my friend, John. My fridge has water, food and vegetables. I eat vegetables. My whole family share this bedroom. I like neat.”

‘My Bedroom’ by Jack

Jack, 12 years old

“Going to school is important to me because I can learn everything about science and be scientific.”

Mary’s Playground by Mary

“This is from my house – I live near Jack. I play here with my friends. I run up and down the spiral staircase too. I get dizzy too but I’m not scared. The fridge is broken.”

‘Mary’s Playground’ by Mary

Mary, 12 years old

Education and knowledge are necessary to learn the skills to be able to help others.”

View by Johnny

“This is the shop where we sometimes come and get our lunch when we have exams. I like the food here.  Under the green roof is a shop where we buy orange juice. Taken from balcony at our school.”

‘View’ by Johnny

Johnny, 10 years old

“I love going to school, I’m happy when I’m in school. We have lots of friends.”

Josie's Kitchen by Josie

This is my kitchen. 6 families share this kitchen. I like cooking. I can stir fry Chin style chicken. I cook with my mother. She is a good cook, I learn from her. This is our refrigerator. All the families share the fridge.

‘Josie’s Kitchen’ by Josie

Josie, 13 years old

“When I grow up, I want to be a doctor. I want to be a doctor so that I can look after my family and my relatives when they are sick. I also want to help those who are less fortunate.”

My friend, Jack by John

“This is Jack, my friend. He is very intelligent. We play in his house, taking photos together. We enjoy it a lot. Behind Jack is his suitcase from Chin state. On the left is Mary.”

‘My friend, Jack’ by John

John, 9 years old

“I like making my friends laugh.”

Spiral by Austin

“Spiral staircase at my house – sometime we run very fast and we feel dizzy up and down. My friends when they come, they feel scared. Broken motorcycle on the street.”

‘Spiral’ by Austin

Austin, 12 years old

“My favourite subject in school is social studies.”

Mettamorphosis Inc. was founded in 2013 as a not-for-profit humanitarian organisation working towards alleviation of the personal, social, institutional and educational adversity faced by refugees worldwide.

Their aim is to support the needs of displaced children. Mettamorphosis undertakes work at the grassroots level, through local cross-cultural education programs in Australia and direct provision of funding and resources for stateless Chin refugee children living in Malaysia.

What drives us is simple – the belief that the right to feel safe and the right to education is a fundamental human right for every child, especially stateless children.

The award-winning documentary film, How I Became a Refugee, produced by Marilyn Metta and Chris Gosfield has achieved high impact acclaim and been screened nationally across WA and internationally in Japan, Canada, Los Angeles, New Zealand, Malaysia and Singapore. 

The documentary film came as a response for refugees to tell their stories in their own voices as well as a creative storytelling response to some of the troubling conversations we are having in Australia about refugees and asylum seekers. The focus has been to bring the film to as many communities and young people as possible.

The film and study guide have since been introduced and used in over 90 primary and high schools across Australia.